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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Two Results of Labour Government

Two Results of Labour Government.

But we may observe two interesting results arising out of the triumph of the Labour party. First, that Labour leaders once entrusted with power and called upon to govern become imbued with the responsibilities of their position. Where previous experiments have resulted in failure they can stoutly resist the demands of the workers—such as the establishment of State charity in the guise of work on unprofitable undertakings, or proposals to start State banks with a paper currency. Secondly, that members of a revising Chamber, drawn from the ranks of whatever party, will resist measures when they believe them to be not the deliberate will of the people, but merely brought forward to purchase political support.

The example of New Zealand shows us that the mere performance by the State of undertakings hitherto performed only by individuals or associations of individuals need cause neither private wrong nor public loss, so long as sound commercial principles are observed and full compensation given for injury.

Schaeffle tells us that the Alpha and Omega of Socialism is to substitute united collective capital for private competing capital. Until, therefore, State Socialism becomes universal, no part of the world can adopt it except on condition of shutting out the competition of the rest of the world. The whole Labour question lies in the best manner of adjusting the relations between the price of labour and the price of commodities. In England free trade has brought page 32 the price of commodities to the lowest values of the world. In New Zealand protection has raised the price of labour to the highest standard in the world. If England wishes now to adopt State Socialism, the battle between the producer and the consumer must be fought over again.

It appears to me that we must frankly look this difficulty in the face, and consider whether we shall barter our cheap food and cheap raw material for a high rate of wages.